Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat?

Today is always one of my favorite days of the year. On this day, 9 years ago, God blessed us with either a treat, or a trick. His name is Grasshopper, and today is his birthday. So Happy Birthday to my little boy! I think everyone should celebrate the day by putting on costumes and begging for candy! Wouldn't that be a great holiday?

Happy Birthday to my favorite younger kid!



Sunday, October 28, 2007

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Boy, what a busy weekend! I've gotten all kinds of things done and even manage to spend some quality time with the family (including some "private" time with the Wife, yeah baby!). After all the time I was away, I had some making up to do. I even managed to make some really good meals, Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage on Saturday, and a kick ass Beef Stew today (it was 49 degrees people! That calls for warm comfort food.)

But also, in the last few days, I managed to find an hour to sit and play with my gear. Now, I'll warn you now I'm going deep into guitar speak, so if you're not a dedicated rocker, you may want to skip to the end.

My last gig, I finally got to put the new Brian May guitar through it's paces. Overall, it was great. Both the gig, and the guitar. For the most part, I got all the tones I wanted clean and dirty. I even broke a string on the last song, a sure sign of total release of the body to Rock and Roll. BUT. I did have the same problem that Brian May had.

I have a video where Brian is going over his gear and his playing technique. When describing his rig, he plays is Old Lady clean through his amp. The sound is kind of muddy, which is what I get. He cleaned it up by adding a pedal called a treble booster. It brightens the tone and has the added benefit of driving the amp so you get that great sound that he gets. A sound I'd love to have. However, in order to get that sound, you need to run the treble booster through a tube amp. And tube amps are quite expensive, as in $1500 to $2500 for the good ones (Vox or Marshall). Not to mention, to get that great over drive sound, you need to run the treble booster through it with the amp volume on the max. Somehow, I don't think the churches we play would appreciate me playing at stadium volume. Additionally, playing a guitar through a treble booster at LOW volume makes it sound like crap. So that's out.

So I've been researching tone on line and I learned some interesting things. I've been considering a tube pre-amp to try and get that cool tube amp sound and be able to control volume. But it turns out that the cool sound I'm looking for can't be made with a pre-amp. So I decided perhaps I just need another pedal. I use an equalizer pedal with my SG and Les Paul to brighten up the sound and set the volume. The Brian May doesn't have as powerful pickups as those guitars, so I thought perhaps a second equalizer just for the Brian May might work. I can brighten up the sound to where I like and set a different volume level so I can even out all the guitars. But first, I decided to play with the gear I have what I could do. I did play with the setup using my SG to get a better feel for just how the pedals I have change my sound. Then, I decided to plug the Brian May in and see what happened when I used the compressor/sustainer pedal I have. I don't use it often and it was primarily for punching in leads when playing live. So I tweaked the setings on it, and go JUST the sound I was looking for. As an aside, I also tweaked the mid on the amp and it made a HUGE difference!

Anyway, I'm quite pleased that I don't need to buy any more gear (well, at least for now). Now I just have to get the Brian May adjusted so it plays like a total dream. No rest for this Rocker Guy!


Friday, October 26, 2007

You can be perfect too

I may be becoming a YouTube junky, but I got this from a legitimate news site. This was created in response to Ann Coulter saying Jews should become Christians so they could be perfected. Enjoy!




Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Wanna Rock...Obscurely

OK, comments on The Dead Milkmen have me scouring YouTube for lots of other great songs you may never have heard of. So without further ado....Here we go!

First there's Blotto. Actually hailing from Albany, NY, they had one hit of sorts anyone might know, I Wanna Be a Lifeguard. They were very clever in that everyone's last name was Blotto. Original, eh? Here's the video:



The next band you probably never heard of is Infectious Grooves. They're a side project of some of the guys from Suicidal Tendencies. Suicidal hit it big with Institutionalized. Go find the lyrics, you like them. But Infectious' best tune is You Lie...And Yo Breath Stank. You'll have to go to the link since embedding was disabled for some reason. But still, go check it out.

And finally, just to show you I can laugh at myself and not take my favorite band too seriously, while introducing the kids to Weird Al Yankovic videos, I came across this: Bohemian Polka. I LOVED IT!



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bitchin' Camaro

Ok, before I get started, I must say that the Wife was in rare form today. She was ranting all over the place and it was a beauty to behold. We have a "new" tax plan that our Republican County Executive is trying to push called F.A.I.R, that is anything but. We emailed back and forth a little and she was filled with righteous indignation, baby! I've got to get her to blog some of this stuff since it's really good.

Now, on to the meat of the post. Recently, I purchased a USB hard drive. Now that I have TONS of space, I've been ripping music like crazy to load up on my Ipod. I've added great stuff I haven't listened to in a while, like rounding out my Queen collection on the Ipod, Iron Maiden's early stuff, UFO, The Cult, even High and Dry by Def Lep (thanks Julz!). However, one CD I ripped and haven't listened to in a while is just making me smile whenever I hear one of the tracks. You've probably never heard of this band, but they were alternative/indie/who know's what you'd call them. The band is the Dead Milkmen. Their most "famous" tune is a song called Bitchin' Camaro. It is SOOOOO 80's it isn't even funny. There's even the quick refence to Def Lep (again for you Julz! {and Jude}). I managed to find a copy on You Tube. They never did a video so this is pretty lame. Some high school project it appears. But listen to the song carefully. They do some talking in the beginning and then the song. Turn up your speakers as the sound quality kind of sucks. But listen to the lyrics carefully. Enjoy!




Sunday, October 21, 2007

Back in the USSR

Well, I'm finally done travelling for a little while. What a stretch. I've driven almost 2000 miles in two weeks. Boy was it tiring. Luckily, that was an unusual patch so I shouldn't have to do that again any time soon. The Wife did fairly well with me gone so much, though we're backed up on the housework. Still, we've made some progress this weekend.

This weekend has also been a fairl spiritual one for me. The band played a Mass last night and did a service tonight for a teen that was killed over the summer. Between all the "alone" time I had on the road this week and being in Church this weekend, I've realized what a blessing the people around me are. Certainly the Wife here at home, holding down the fort while my schedule has been insane and being supportive. My bandmates for recharging me when I was down, and all of you that I've met, either in person or through your blogs, in the internet universe. I've thanked God for all of you and been praying for you all. Just wanted to throw up a quick note of thanks for all of you just being there and touching me in some way.

Now hopefully things can get back to "normal". I haven't had a lot to say in the blog world lately, but I'm feeling getting back out here again. Just a quick note, at Mass yesterday, we did a song as a prelude called "How Great Is Our God". It's one of our standards that I happen to sing. It's very powerful for the band to play. Afterwards, we got spontaneous applause. No other song we did evoked that response. I was so happy we touched them with something that we did. Playing music for the Lord totally rules.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dave's Not Here

Last week and this week have been crazy at work with respect to travelling. I was on the road like 3 times last week, and I'll be out of the office and on the road 4 days this week. It's just one of those unusual scheduling things, but it means I'll be perpetually behind with work stuff and have to make up some time in the evenings to catch up.

If I get a chance, I'll post about the cool scout event Grasshopper and I attended yesterday. Until then, stay safe. I'll try not to burn out this week.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Work Hard, Play Hard

Yesterday the boys had off from school for the Columbus Day holiday, so I thought it would be a great day for some yard work. I asked the boys to rake leaves in the back while I mowed, and they actually were happy to help. They worked very hard on a humid 80 degree day (who'd have thought in October?). As a result, they got to enjoy the fruits of their labor. As I watched them, I thought that sometimes it takes a kid to remind you what it's like to be a kid.

So just how did they enjoy the fruits of their labor? Like this:


And this:



Sunday, October 07, 2007

Business as usual

Not a whole heck of a lot going on right now. The boys have a LONG weekend (Friday AND Monday off from school) so I took the days off from work. Pretty much we've been doing just normal things this weekend. Grocery shopping, hair cuts, church, scout stuff, all the usuals. Don't know if that's good or bad.

The mouth is healing nicely. There's no soreness any longer and I'm getting used to not having a tooth in the back of my mouth. It's very weird since I've had it there for like 30 years. But it's nice not to have pain in my mouth any more.

I'll have to do some catching up at work this week. I've got at least 2 off site meetings that will require driving, so that should be fun. Maybe. But my new promotion goes "officially" into effect today so I guess I got to earn all that extra pay.

Anyway, hope you all had a great weekend. I'm all caught up now with everyone's blogs so you can't complain I don't stop by.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Toothless

Well, today I got my wisdon tooth pulled. It went pretty smooht. One dentist numbed me up. I waited maybe 15 mintues, then the next dentist pulled my tooth out in like 5 minutes. In and out in 45 minutes.

I must say, other than the bleeding, I was feeling pretty good. That is, until the novacaine wore off. Now I've got a dull ache where the tooth was. And a mouth full of gauze to help stop the bleeing. Which is very tasty, by the way, NOT! So anyway, at least I've got tomorrow and Monday off from work. The boys are off from school for Columbus Day so I took vacation time. Hopefully I can recover quickly. But right now it feels like Mike Tyson did 5 rounds with my left cheek bone.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways

Boy my day today at work ended entirely unexpectedly. I got a meeting request in the early afternoon from my boss for a quick 15 minute call at 4:45. Normally, I hate end of the day meetings. There was no indication as to what the meeting was about as the subject was "Misc Info".

Before I get into details, a quick bit of history. When my company merged with the company out of Schenectady, one of the more glaring things is what we called "Title Parity". Titles in Rochester had different meanings and levels of responsibility than they did in Schenectady. My title is "Supervisor". Now, in Rochester, pretty much everybody that manages people is a supervisor. Above us would be "Directors" which are people that report directly to the CEO. In Schenectady, a "Supervisor" is more of a team lead. My direct counterpart was a "Manager". We did the same job, just different titles. It cause a little bitterness early on as I was not being invited to "Manager" meetings since I was only a "Supervisor". So the person doing the same job as me was going to important meetings which I was not invited.

Anyway, along comes reorganization of the IT department. I and my counterpart then reported to the new "Director of Customer Service". We have equally responsible positions, but the same titles as before.

Ok, so today I call my boss, the "Director of Customer Service" and ask what's up. He says he has a couple of things for me, but quickly adds "nothing bad". Ok, cool. So we start chatting and he basically comes out and tells me that I've been promoted to "Manager" to put me on par with my counterpart. He then proceeds to tell me that along with the promotion comes a salary increase to a new base salary of $X.XX per year.

The number he quoted me left me speechless and with my jaw hanging open. Good think I was on the phone with him. This new number is a SIGNIFICANT increase over what I was previously making. I didn't hear too much of what he told me afterward. Just to make sure I heard him right, I had him confirm the amount. He repeated that it was correct. I've been giddy ever since. I told the Wife when I got home and she was extremely excited. Not that we were in any sort of financial burden or anything, but we have been concerned about saving for retirement. Hopefully now we can minimize that concern. Even now, I still have trouble believing what I heard.

The first thought that came to my head (once it started spinning) is just how good the Lord has been to me. I've been considering looking for a new job and was questioning whether I was in the right place. My "job satisfaction" has not been what it was. Now, however, I think I'll stay put. My boss also told me how happy he is with the work I'm doing and that he values what I do. That goes a long way. Sure there's problems in our organization, but I think I'll stick around to try and make it better.